My heart stops every time Zotia struggles to get up, or grabs a stick to play catch, or wants to get up on my bed to cuddle with me.
Zotia came into my life when she was just six weeks old. My son and a friend got her from from a litter at 4 weeks old. The owners were in a hurry to be rid of the puppies. There ought to be a law against taking a puppy from its mother that young! I met two weeks later. She really hadn't bonded with my son or his friend, and spent most of the time hiding under a chair. The first time I held her, she kissed my ears, and I never giggled so hard! A little while after, I dropped something on the ground. Now, I can't bend over because of a steel rod in my spine, and certain deformities in my hips. Well, here comes little Zotia (her name then was Zoë then). And she picked it up and put it in my hand! Unfortunately the hand she put it in is missing fingers and I lost my grip and dropped it again. So she picked it up again, placed it in my hand, and held it there until she knew I had a firm grip on it! I was amazed! I turned to my son and his friend and told them they just lost a dog! And they agreed. We tested Zotia with other items, and she picked up anything I dropped that she could reasonably lift. The TV remote, a brush, a coin, a paperclip, you name it! Not too long after we became a family, my friend came to visit. My friend, Angie, cannot use her hands, and uses her mouth to hold things. When SHE dropped something, Zotia picked it up, stood on her bind legs, and placed it in her mouth!
Zotia is so in tune with me, she can sense my moods. If I'm sad, she'll do crazy dances or play with her toys and check to see if she's making me smile. If I'm in pain, she'll lay on the area that is hurting and her body beat and pressure, not to mention her presence, helps relieve my pain. She can't do this on my bed now because of her ACLs. But we cuddle on the couch every chance we get and meditate together. We call it Puppy Zen.
I could go on and on about how this Angel touches my life. I know she has more to teach me. Any help you can give to help Zotia take walks, to move, to play "Stick," to get up on my bed, to run, to jump, to play, etc., will be so appreciated.
While researching veterinarians to do Zotia's ACL surgeries an alternative plan of action was been presented to me. I took her to another veterinarian for a surgery consultation and second opinion. My friend and Secret Angel, who wishes to remain anonymous, paid for this visit with her family veterinarian. Deanna Miller, DVM, with Rising Sun Animal Care! Wonderful doctor, I truly felt her motivations came from her heart, and not her pocketbook. After a thorough examination and consultation, Dr. Miller talked about a non-surgical strategy for Zotia. Given the fact that she weighs 86 lbs (on June 20th), the chances of her re-rupturing those CCLs (a dogs version of an ACL) were very high, resulting in future surgeries. Dr. Miller talked about research that was done recently, with a bunch of CCL injured and overweight dogs. Half of the dogs had surgery, rehabilitation, and weight loss. The other half received rehabilitation and weight loss only. When interviewed, 75% of the owners of the dogs that received surgery and rehabilitation, said their dogs were "Greatly Improved." Of the owners of dogs that received rehabilitation alone, 66% said their dogs were "Greatly Improved." Zotia, being the "Good Girl" that she is, has received many treats over the years. On top of that, she has hypothyroidism. Both of these contribute to her being overweight. Dr Miller's suggested Plan of Action is to control Zotia's pain; put her on a "No Treats" diet; have her lose 26lbs; begin a rehabilitation program with hydrotherapy to assist losing weight, and strengthen the muscles around her knees to stabilize those joints. A week before our appointment, Dr. Miller suggested to my Secret Angel a supplement called Dasuquin Advanced for Large Dogs, which my Secret Angel paid for (Zotia was already taking Dasuquin for Small Dogs. The one for Large Dogs was beyond my pocketbook unfortunately). Zotia has now been on the Large Dog Advanced formula since June 17. She had responded to this Miracle Supplement as though it was magic! She rarely needs pain medication. And she's hardly limping. Walking farther, getting up easier, and quicker. It's quite amazing! It's great to see her moving easier, and not giving me those eyes full of "owwies".
Wednesday, June 21 we had an appointment for a consultation and treatment at Canine & Conditioning Rehabilitation Group (CCRG). Zotia was evaluated by their veterinarian, Paul Brumett, DVM (Dr. Paul) to suggest a treatment plan. He did a thorough physical examination of her. He was amazed to see how well she was responding to the Dasuquin! Little to no limp, and hardly any tenderness. She weighed in at an amazing 77lbs! I'm blown away! I thought it was going to be harder withholding treats from her. But she's so smart. I sit her down and tell her, "Treats are giving you owwies, Sweetie" and she turns away and goes to lay down. And she'll try again later. But I just remind her, "Treats give you owwies," and she rethinks it.
Dr. Paul then showed us some exercises to do at home. And some massage techniques. (He's sending me a video as well). Then he filmed Zotia walking. She got to be a star! She loves the camera! She strutted her stuff for the doctor. Next came cold laser treatments. Which weren't nearly as much fun. The process terrified her. She began vocalizing her fear, which understandably made Dr. Paul uncomfortable. He didn't want to take the chance of Zotia biting him, so to feel safer, he put a muzzle on her. This of course scared her more. By this time, tears were running down my face. I felt so torn over what was best for her and taking the fear away. I wished that I could take her place. I'd just start meditating to focus away from the fear. Puppy Zen! I decided to try. I told Zotia there was "a Golden Light around Zotia and Mommy. Spirit's Energy and Love are running in and through us..." Pretty soon she collapsed to the floor, her breathing settled, and she justed watched me while I continued our meditation, until the treatment was finished. Dr. Paul and his assistant had been smiling at her reaction, but remained quiet. Now Dr. Paul laughed, "You said she responded to meditation. You weren't kidding!"
After that was done, came the pièce de résistance. The underwater treadmill! I wish I had thought to videotape it. The look on her face when the earth started moving was priceless! She completed four minutes, which Dr. Paul said was really good for her first time. So, what I want to do is
1) Relieve Zotia's pain
a) cold laser treatments
twice a week*
b) massage seven a week*
c) prednisone once a week
to treat masticatory
d) Dasuquin Advanced
Large Dog Chews twice a
e) Tramadol as needed for
f) hot compresses twice a
g) accupuncture once a
h) chiropractic once a
2) Work on her weight loss and muscle strength
a) low calorie dogfood (no
more than 700 calories, or
3/4 cup of food each day) b) NO TREATS!
twice a week
d) physical therapy
f) frequent, but short
*included in an 45 Minute Rehabilitation Package for $110 per visit
The accupunctue and chiropractic are additional. So, we still need your help. It just will not be surgery. Thank all of you for helping Zotia!
- Jane Potts
- Andrea Weiner
- Penni/Jack Dorwart
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